KANANASKIS, Alberta (AP) -- The Mideast conflict dominated initial talks of leaders of the world's industrial powers gathered in the Canadian Rockies for their annual summit.
The agenda for the two-day Group of Eight meeting set by its host, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, focuses on terrorism, the world economy and African development aid.
But as leaders arrived by helicopter Tuesday after landing at Calgary's airport 65 miles away, the prime topic was the intractable Israel-Palestinian conflict and President Bush's new proposal demanding the replacement of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat as a condition for creation of a Palestinian state.
It was the first question asked of Bush and Chretien before their one-on-one meeting Tuesday, one of several such discussions held on the eve of the summit at a remote resort surrounded by snowcapped peaks.
Bush repeated his call for new Palestinian leaders, but added that "all parties must work for peace."
Protesters kept far from the meeting venue stripped their clothes off outside a Gap store in Calgary and planned more disruptive marches for Wednesday, including a "Take the Capital" demonstration more than 2,000 miles to the east in Ottawa.
Thousands of Canadian police and soldiers surrounded Kananaskis, armed with laser-guided anti-aircraft missiles, tanks, helicopters and automatic weapons to guard against any terrorist threat.
Intent on demonstrating a united front against terrorism at the annual summit, the participants -- the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia -- prepared a joint plan to make air travel and cargo shipments safer. Underscoring the cooperative theme, Bush signed legislation before leaving Washington on Tuesday that allows the United States to participate in two U.N. terrorism initiatives.
Bush also hoped to build support for his Middle East peace initiative. Sitting next to Chretien before their meeting, he expressed support for Israel's increased incursions into Palestinian territories, saying "everybody has a right to defend themselves."
"What Palestinians need is leadership -- elected leadership," Bush said.
Chretien supported Bush's push for democratic elections but stopped short of endorsing the president's call for Arafat's ouster.
Chretien wants the summit to produce agreement on a new plan to increase development aid for Africa.
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